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‘Kashmir, the root of conflict in South Asia’

By Pakistani Ambassador to Korea Zahid Nasrullah Khan

On 6 June 1998, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1172 and expressed deep concern over the risk of a nuclear arms race in South Asia.

Determined to prevent such a scenario from happening, it urged India and Pakistan to resume all of their bilateral dialogues covering outstanding issues and encouraged them to find mutually acceptable solutions that “address the root causes of those tensions, including Kashmir.”

Nineteen years after the resolution’s passage, grave human rights violations continue unabated in Indian-occupied Kashmir and tensions remain high along the heavily militarized 740-kilometer line of control dividing the state of Jammu and Kashmir between the two nuclear neighbors. Despite Pakistan’s numerous and repeated peace overtures and offers for talks, India continues to spurn them.

The resolution was not the first time the Security Council had brought the issue of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute to the fore of international diplomacy. The issue remains to this day an unfinished agenda for the council. The supreme group of nations adopted several resolutions in 1948 granting the right of self-determination to the Kashmiri people -- to join either Pakistan or India -- through a free and fair plebiscite, which were to be held under UN auspices.

Instead of implementing these resolutions, however, India perpetuated its illegal occupation of Kashmir after landing its forces there on Oct. 27, 1947, a day commemorated as “Black Day” by Kashmiris all over the world. 

Pakistani Ambassador to Korea Zahid Nasrullah Khan (Joel Lee/The Korea Herald)
Pakistani Ambassador to Korea Zahid Nasrullah Khan (Joel Lee/The Korea Herald)

Since 1947, the Kashmiris in the India-occupied territory have been subjected to oppression and violence, well-documented by international human rights organizations. The innumerable and grave human rights violations committed by Indian Army and Security Forces there -- under the protection of “black laws” -- are graphically described in a plethora of human rights reports.

This policy of repression has raised tensions between Pakistan and India, and led to three wars between them. It also pushed the dispute to a nuclear flash point after the nuclearization of South Asia in May, 1998.

In an effort to deter Pakistan, India spread baseless allegations of cross-border terrorism, raised tensions by firing across the line of control and recently supported baseless claims that it carried out surgical strikes on the line of control on Sept. 28 last year.

Instead of accepting Pakistan’s offer of holding meaningful and substantive talks to resolve all outstanding issues, including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, India resorted to state-sponsored terrorism in Indian-occupied Kashmir as well as subversive and terrorist activities in Pakistan.

The Indian government’s state policy of assisting militant, subnationalist and separatist groups in Pakistan was exposed by the arrest of Kulbushan Jadev, a serving commander of the Indian Navy, on March 3 last year. Kulbushan was arrested while trying to enter Pakistan illegally from Iran, and has confessed to directing various subversive activities in Balochistan and Karachi that were aimed at upturning the region’s law and order at the behest of the Research and Analysis Wing, India’s intelligence agency.

Currently, Indian-occupied Kashmir is experiencing a new wave of uprisings led by the Kashmiri youth, which the Indian security forces have failed to quell by applying indiscriminate lethal force. The use of pellet-firing shot guns have blinded hundreds of Kashmiris.

Failing to break the will of Kashmiri people by force, India is now attempting to change the demography in Indian-occupied Kashmir by encouraging non-Kashmiris to settle there. Their measures encompass allotting land to retired army personnel to convert the Muslim majority into a minority.

Last week, Sartaj Aziz, foreign policy adviser to the Pakistani prime minister, wrote a letter the UN secretary-general highlighting India’s attempts to upset the demographic balance in Indian-occupied Kashmir. In the letter, the adviser stressed that not implementing the Security Council resolutions had caused grave human rights violations in Indian-occupied Kashmir. He also called for faithful implementation of the resolutions, which would relieve the plight of millions of Kashmiris and bring peace and stability to South Asia.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced the policy of a “peaceful neighborhood” and made several peace overtures to India at the beginning of his tenure in 2013. Pakistan stands ready and willing to engage in a meaningful dialogue with India to peacefully resolve all issues, principally the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.